Mark McCann, CEO of OLIVER Ireland discusses the challenges of creating better quality content in the face of increased ad blocking
Ad blockers. The advertisement vaccine. What’s the point of creating online advertisements if nobody sees them? That’s the issue facing agencies at this point in time, but is the fear ad-blockers strike into the hearts of creatives
The first TV ad aired in 1941, on the New York Station WNBT, before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies. The ad, a 10 second spot for Bulova Watch Company, cost just $9 between station and air charges. From that moment until this, TV was king when it came to advertising.
The first steps towards the overthrow of TV came in 1994, when the first internet advertisement ran. Wired.com, then known as Hotwired, placed a banner advertisement atop their website for AT&T which said “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here? You will.”
Over the past 23 years billions have clicked leading us to this point, where digital spend now counts for over half of advertising spend for the first time. And why not, given the ever-increasing ways in which agencies and clients can measure the efficacy of online advertisements?
Advertising on Google and Facebook is increasing at an incredible rate, 20% and 60% respectively year-over-year, according to KPCB.
On top of this, over half of internet advertising spend is funnelled towards mobile advertising, reflecting the continued increase in the amount of time people spend on their mobile devices, and browsing online on them too.
So, with digital advertising spend on the up, surely it’s a no brainer for agencies to plough all their resources into advertising online?
Not so. It may be a brave new world of opportunity but there are many challenges inherent in implementing effective digital campaigns.
For starters, there’s currently a huge gap between the amount of time people spend browsing the web on their mobile phones and the amount of money spent on mobile advertising. This is not a challenge per se, but an area where there is enormous room for growth.
The challenges begin with developing the type of content that appeals to the target audience. For decades consumers have complained that they are barraged with ever more advertisements on television, but television advertisements are linear. They appear one after the other.
On any given web page however, banner advertisements compete with sidebar advertisements and, on websites such as Facebook, both compete with video advertisements sandwiched into videos. Consumers can be overwhelmed and subsequently irritated, pushing them to disengage with all online advertising content, leading us to…
Ad blockers. The advertisement vaccine. What’s the point of creating online advertisements if nobody sees them? That’s the issue facing agencies at this point in time but is the fear ad-blockers strike into the hearts of creatives
CMO of Unilever Keith Weed said recently that ad-blockers are nothing new; “There has always been ad blocking. Ad blocking was the 30-second TV ad coming on air and you got up to make a cup of tea. That was real physical ad avoidance and what did we try and do to stop that happening is to create more engaging advertising.
Therein lies the rub. In order to keep consumers from blocking advertisements, the quality of content and engagement must increase.
Agencies need to work harder than ever before to ensure their advertisements are strategically placed to target only those who will be interested.
The stakes are high for both the hosts and the content providers. Facebook and Google have started penalising advertisers who publish disruptive, misleading or low quality advertisements on their sites, in order to preserve their own reputation. Agencies now know that poor content will not be tolerated, either by consumers or by sites.
Perhaps the most effective way to utilise online advertising in the short term is to dovetail with other mediums. Consumers are far more likely to engage with an online advertisement if they recognise the content from a TV spot.
Video killed the radio star, but maybe online advertising will prolong the lifespan of television, even as it surpasses its relevance.